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Sleepless Nights Plague America
Date:3/8/2010

People of all races say lack of shuteye affects their work, even sex lives

MONDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News)-- Americans of all races toss and turn in bed each night, and sleeplessness is affecting their jobs, social lives and even their sexual habits, the latest poll on U.S. sleep habits finds.

"Everybody is sleeping less; we do live in a nation of sleepy people," said Dr. Jose Loredo, a professor of medicine and director of the Sleep Medicine Center at the University of California, San Diego, and a member of the committee that conducted the National Sleep Foundation poll, titled 2010 Sleep in America.

The survey of 1,007 adults across the country found that people sleep almost two hours less than they did 40 years ago. "You need about 8.5 hours of sleep a night," he added.

"Sleep duration is a very important variable in health, especially cardiovascular health," Loredo said. "There is a strong association of sleeping less and hypertension, sleeping less and heart attacks, sleeping less and obesity," he said.

Many Americans seemingly know this, as more than three-quarters surveyed acknowledged that too little shuteye can have serious health consequences.

Too little sleep also takes a toll on daily living, with up to 24 percent saying they have missed work or social engagements because they were too tired. And among married people or couples living together, as many as 26 percent said that they were too tired to have frequent sex.

For the first time, the annual report also identifies differences in sleep habits among blacks, whites and Hispanics. These include:

  • Blacks are most likely to watch TV (75 percent) or pray (71 percent) in the hour before going to bed.
  • Blacks spend more time in bed without going to sleep (54 minutes during the week, 71 minutes on weekends).
  • Nightly lovemaking is most common among blacks and Hispanics. Ten perc
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